Tag: Nicholas Denton

Melbourne Fringe 2017: LOVE SONG

Stealing hearts

By Lois Maskiell

Melbourne-based actor Lucy Moir plays Joan, a married and shrewd business woman in the recent production of Love Song at this year’s Melbourne Fringe. In an interview that took place just after the preview, Lucy shared her insights about the piece. “(Y)ou could say it’s a play about mental illness,” she said, “but really, it’s about taking life on, taking it into your own hands and making it your own.”

Love Song photo.jpg

Love Song was premiered in Chicago, 2006 by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and has since been performed in London, Rome, Aukland, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Melbourne with MTC’s 2008 production. Its success can be attributed to its simplicity, as its playwright John Kolvenbach has plainly remarked: “(I)t’s about a very lonely guy who finds love”.

Beane (Nicholas Denton) lives in a barren apartment, stripped of all superfluous possessions (he eats from a cup), while his sister Joan’s apartment shines of order with a sleek sofa, a carefully placed pot-plant and a never-ending supply of wine that quenches her post-work worries. When Molly (Bonnie Moir) bursts onto the scene to burglarise Beane’s apartment, the audience is confronted with a hot-tempered outlaw – one who takes pleasure in her crimes and cannot stand the fact that Beane’s apartment is void of any sentimental objects, whereupon there isn’t even a photograph.

The emotionally eccentric Beane falls madly in love with Molly. All of a sudden, the world excites, rather than depresses him. “When he suddenly has this life force it’s like Joan doesn’t know how to handle it” said Lucy. Beane’s new-found exuberance confronts his sister, provoking a hilariously embarrassing moment in public over a turkey sandwich. It even encourages a spark of romance between Joan and her good-humoured husband Harry (Jordan Fraser-Trumble): a spark that eases their habitual bickering.

The opposing yet complimentary temperaments of Joan and Harry make their relationship so believable. “The contrast is certainly in the text to an extent. I mean, the writing is so beautiful,” said Lucy, “but we definitely made a conscious decision to make this a relationship of routine and compatibility.” The habitual and routine are common themes throughout the play. For Lucy, Kolvenbach is “looking at how easy it is to fall into the familiar trap of routine” and that “whatever you do, run away from that!”

The couple’s tired relationship takes a positive turn towards the end of the piece, and “(i)t was important for us that Joan and Harry have this kind of dysfunctional chaos in the beginning so that they can really fall for each other again later on,” said Lucy.

Molly’s metatheatrical cry “Death to literalism” is a quip about the role of illusion and fantasy in the play. Perhaps Kolvenbach is commenting on the relationship between romance, delusion and reality. And while the fear of being delusional is real, it is only through our imaginations that one can truly come to terms with existence.

When asked what she thought about Kolvenbach’s point, Lucy responded that “Ultimately, he is pointing out that life can be pretty rough sometimes. And whatever you need to do to get to a place where you can see the beauty in all the chaos, then do it.” Joan and her brother Beane arrive at this place in a disarmingly funny manner, highlighting that “there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy,” as Lucy noted in the interview, “and while Joan takes things very seriously,” she continued, “we laugh at the absurdity and humanity of it all.”

Love Song is an offbeat romantic comedy that Francis Greenslade has directed with a polished sitcom sensibility, outstandingly performed by its entire cast. The timing and energy between the actors brought the lyric humour of the play to life as well as the carefully opposed natures of Kolvenbach’s characters. There is no doubt that this strength of timing is due to Greenslade’s direction. “Francis’ comedy and sense of tempo have been a massive part of getting this production up,” shared Lucy. “He is hilarious yet has this beautiful sensitivity when it comes to drama. It’s been a real lesson in comedy and timing though- and playing for truth rather than laughs.”

The Collingwood Arts Precinct is the perfect place to see theatre at the Fringe, capturing both the spirit of the festival and the playful nature of the production. In a warehouse location with a set designed by Sophie Woodward, the audience is positioned in the centre, on rotating chairs with the action taking place around them (you will have to see for yourself!).  If you hadn’t already attended a Fringe show, I hope you too broke your routine and ran away to the theatre for an evening to see Love Song

Love Song ran until the 30th of September, 2017 for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Review originally published on Words of Muses.

Advertisements

Monster Media Presents ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

Impeccable
By Ross Larkin

When a show is preceded by its own reputation as an iconic, Oscar-winning film, one might be forgiven for having reservations about subsequent incarnations of any kind. Thankfully, Monster Media’s interpretation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest puts all reservations to rest in a production that succeeds at the highest level.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.jpg

When Randle McMurphy (Michael Robins) is committed to a psychiatric asylum, he unwittingly provokes the menacing Nurse Ratched (Catherine Glavicic), who controls the ward with an iron fist, while forging the most unlikely of friendships in the process.

With award winning director Carl J. Sorheim at the helm, the play by Dale Wasserman and based on the novel by Ken Kesey is executed with delicate precision and just the right amount of integrity, light and shade.

The casting, in particular, is of exceptional note with an ensemble cast that bring complete authenticity and charm to the stage from the outset, including Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, Natalie BondNicholas DentonJack Dixon-GunnJosh FutcherDavid GannonKostas Ilias, Troy Larkin, Stephanie LillisPaul MorrisSeton PollockAngela Scundi and Ben Sofowora.

Michael Robins provides a fresh take as the mischievous McMurphy; a complex and demanding role which, in the wrong hands, could easily fail to affect. However, Robins makes the character his own and does very well in the process.

Catherine Glavicic as the subtly twisted Nurse Ratched is chilling yet sincere, offering an excellent concoction of kindness, authority, manipulation and bite, while Troy Larkin as the troubled Dale Harding is outstanding in a portrayal laden with conviction, torment and tenderness.

Add to the brew an alluring lighting (Jason Crick) and sound design, and a pace and energy to match, and Monster Media’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is most definitely not to be missed.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is playing now until June 11, 2017 at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne. Tickets available at www.mtc.com.au or by phone on (03) 8688 0800.

Image by GW Photography

REVIEW: La Mama Presents MONOLOGUE FOR A MURDERER

The ethics of dramatizing real-world horrors

By Myron My

High school shootings seem to be a distressing regular occurrence of late and remain a touchy subject in film and theatre. In Monologue for a Murderer, Kate Rice uses the tenth anniversary of the 2002 German school massacre in the town of Erfurt as the impetus to tell this story, and whilst the work is nothing new on its own, the intelligent narrative structure and direction makes this play something very different.

Monologue for a Murderer

Three points of views are explored in Monologue for a Murderer. The events leading up to the school massacre are examined through the eyes of then school principal, Frau Doktor (Kaarin Fairfax), and the eyes of killer, Robert Steinhäuser (Nicholas Denton). Whilst the time jumps are a little unclear and confusing to begin with, things soon settle and the narrative comes together quite well with a highly intense retelling of those final moments.

The third point of view playwright Rice uses is that of her own, played by Kirsty Hillhouse. As Rice – who was in Erfurt for the tenth anniversary – Hillhouse speaks directly to us and gives us some insight into her own personal ethics and inner conflict in creating theatre and entertainment from such a horrific event and her subsequent attempts to pay respect to the lives affected by Steinhäuser.

There are some strong performances from the cast from Hillhouse, and Denton as the troubled young killer. However, the role of Frau Doktor felt miscast with Fairfax unfortunately unable to convey the deep level of grief and responsibility felt. Moreover, Charlie Sturgeon also struggled to convince in any of the characters he portrays, with little discernible differentiation between his roles, even in tone or body language.

A unique script, and apt direction by Jeremy Rice, ensure that Monologue for a Murderer doesn’t present as just another play about another high-school shooting but opens out into a powerful discussion of what theatre can be, for an audience member, an actor and a writer.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton

Season: Until 9 November | Wed 6:30pm. Thu-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 4pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: http://lamama.com.au